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July 31, 2008 - John Mehno

The Pirates officially blew things up by trading Jason Bay for a package of four prospects. Whether they admit it or not, they're starting over.

The building blocks are no longer 30ish players like Bay and Xaiver Nady (watch out, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez) but rather players like Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit, who have less MLB service time and more time under the Pirates' control as far as arbitration and free agency.

Tough to see Bay go. Last season aside, he was a reliable performer, but he's the chip who could bring back prospects. How good are the players the Pirates have collected from the Red Sox and Dodgers? I don't have a clue. You'll see scouting reports quoted, but when you read those, remember there were once scouting reports that tabbed Chad Hermansen as a future star. Looks like three of the players will be with the Pirates as soon as this weekend's series in Chicago.

It's tough for Bay, too. Any in-season trade is an adjustment. He's changing leagues and going from a place where a player can fade into the background to one where baseball players are local celebrities. On top of that, he's the total return on a deal that sends away a very productive hitter who's been part of championship teams. My advice to Jason: Start out hitting at least .800 and play every bounce off the Green Monster deftly.

What the Pirates were doing clearly wasn't working. Time will tell if this plan makes things better.

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